Is digital advertising dead?

SUMMARY: Fast Company said digital advertising is not dead. That’s not true, but it is on life support. “The most prominent factor is the backlash against the current data-centric advertising model from regulators and tech companies. While the regulatory and technical environment that allowed the ad-tech industry to operate unchecked is now over, many brands are still investing in digital ads. Online ads can provide an ROI IF marketers execute it right.

Fast Company says, “The era of hyper-precise targeting is well and truly over. Moreover, the browser will decrease relevance to advertisers, partly due to the aforementioned factors and the widespread adoption of technological countermeasures that effectively allow consumers to opt out of advertising. Around 42.7 percent of individuals use ad blockers, and that figure is only growing.”

That’s assuming too much. I can hyper-target, provided I know much about my audience beyond demographics. This means pulling the plug on programmatic advertising and researching the segments within your audience. You need to know:

  • Where do they go online during their day?
  • What are they researching?
  • What devices are they using when they go to their favorite websites?
  • What are the behaviors of micro-segments?

The other behavior that needs to be changed is how marketers measure online ads. Clicks, views, or time should not be calculated. They should be counted as part of an integrated marketing campaign, all working together to drive sales. If an online ad communicates a key brand message without requiring consumers to click, it’s done its job.

A great example is Pepsi Zero Sugar. Do people need to click on the banner, or can you communicate that it’s that great Pepsi taste without any sugar via an online ad that tells a story? Even if you’re scrolling, a well-placed ad showing Pepsi flowing into an ice-cold glass can go a long way to drive intent.

The key issue with online advertising has been brands’ insistence that it be measured separately from other channels. That’s a mistake. It’s part of the marketing engine, with all cylinders operating toward one goal.

So why would Fast Company say Digital Advertising is dead? It’s because of two things. First, lazy media agencies who fail to adequately measure online ads and inform clients that a lot of their spending went to fraud, and second because too many marketers want you to click their ads when that’s unnecessary.

With the emphasis on privacy and ad blocker penetration, the online ad industry will find a way to overcome its shortcomings.

About richmeyer

Rich is a passionate marketer who is able to quickly understand what turns a prospect into a customer. He challenges the status quo and always asks "what can we do better"? He knows how to take analytics and turn them into opportunities and he is a great communicator.

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